Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis managed to stir a great deal of controversy in a documentary aired in Germany Today on Tuesday evening. “Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece would never pay back its debts. But they acted as if Greece wasn’t bankrupt, as if it just didn’t have enough liquid funds,” he told the documentary, sparking annoyance. His blunt comments sparked a German media backlash that didn’t attack his comments per se but his personality.
His crime of focusing on reality and stating the obvious is seen by EU media as an attack on Greece’s EU partners. Once considered by Bild as a “sex machine”, he is slowly being represented as a Marxist economists in need of “psychiatric help”.
An article by Jan Fleischhauer in Der Spiegel refers to Varoufakis as a paranoid man who sees “imaginary enemies” who are multiplying and diagnoses the Greek FinMin as a man who suffers from a “psychosis”. The columnist mocks that Varoufakis, an expert in game theory, “is unable to understand matters and his (own) environment.” “Doctor” Fleischhauer refers to Marxist Psychiatrist David Cooper (1931-1986), who ran an experimental unit for young schizophrenics in a revolutionary ‘anti-hospital’, and states that Cooper said that “schizophrenia was a social product that could be cured only with revolution.” The columnist sees an uncanny reflection of these words in the moves of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) and concludes by stating, “SYRIZAa is not crazy, but capitalism surrounding it.”
Bild, too, refers to Greek government “madness”, stating, “The Greek government is behaving as if everyone must dance to its tune. But there must be an end to this madness. Europe must not be made to look stupid.”
Not just the media…
Most Eurozone finance ministers openly believe that Varoufakis has turned out to be a sui generis. Terms such as “naive”, “inadequate” and a “special case” are now being used outright by EU ministers of the united EU. The most verbal of the EU FinMins is none other than the great “Europeanist”, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has an obsession with Varoufakis in a barrage of interviews where he claims that his Greek counterpart is “naive” and how “sorry” he feels for Greeks. On Tuesday, Schaeuble blamed Varoufakis for behaving in a “foolishly naive way” and reflected the views of Der Spiegel – or vise versa – that Varoufakis is “looking for enemies.”
Slovakian Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, asked about his views on Varoufakis’ letter to the Eurogroup, quipped “I am not Minister of Culture in order to judge the literary style.”
After reports that Schaeuble had requested the removal of Varoufakis as minister and ironic statements all-round, the Greek government’s statement refering to an “organized plan to besmirch Varoufakis” did not go unnoticed in Brussels as Greece is left isolated within the EU. European officials state that the Greek government is constantly pointing fingers of blame to “Brussels”, “Berlin” and EU policies in an effort for Tsipras to clear himself from his own failure to deliver his pre-election promises. EU officials maintain that it is extremely difficult for Tsipras and Varoufakis to explain to the Greek people that the hopes and dreams of an end to austerity that they had promised had been “silly” at best.